So over this past Thanksgiving dinner with my girlfriend and her new college friends I got to talking with one of them about how I just moved to Portland, OR, started my own window cleaning business, had gotten a few clients from my uncle’s carpet cleaning rolodex and was looking for a boost in clients. Her friend, from California, recommended Groupon: it targets qualified customers, you get great exposure, and get money upfront.
One Week Later: Submitted my company’s profile and services to Groupon.
One Week + 2 days later: Got a call from Alex from Groupon, says my business sells well.
One Month Later: Had Deal, Pricing, and Details organized.
Two Months Later (January 25th, 2011): VuRenu was featured and went from 12 customers to 240! and fielded about 50 phone calls, was glued to my email answering questions like, “do you come to my city? how much for a window? what is a window?”
Two Months + 1 Day later: Learned Real quick how to schedule estimates, appointments, and not let handling customers ruin my sleep (cuz scheduling was the only thing running through my mind at night!)
How does Groupon work?
Usually they offer something for 50% savings. In my case, “$100 of service for $49!” So on the day of the feature the Groupon Customer receives an email telling them they have 1 day to buy this “Groupon.” They buy it at $49. Groupon then splits that money with you 50/50 (They got $25, I got $24).
The dollars are right there: For every Groupon I sold I “lost” $76. I sold 218 Groupons. I made $5,232 and will give out $15,696 in services for “free”. Some customers just want “$100” of service. That sucks, but you suck up to them, give them a little bit more of your time and throw in a few “freebies” = clean an extra skylight, wash 2 more mirrors, etc. They’ll keep you in mind for their next services. Yes, you do stand a chance that some customers are only looking for deals and know the next time they want this service they’ll just wait for another Groupon, hence may not “build” a base.
UPSELLING!!! Yes, I started out as just a window cleaner. Groupon asked, “Do you do gutters, too? Cuz that really sells.” Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I said, “Heck yes!” Learning on the job is a beautiful thing. I’ve also added pressure washing to the mix and am just an arsenal of opportunity. FYI, I have experience in Gutters and Pressure Washing, so no, I’m not just a fool out there.
I went from making $1,100 a month to $1,100 my first week!
And even if everyone wants just the “basic” $100 of service (which they don’t) I stand to make more than what I’ve been doing since I’ve started.
Would I recommend Groupon?
Only if you can handle it. I’ve never had a “disgruntled customer” before. Now, I know what that feels like. I’ve declined services right in their face and said with a smile, “You can just go to Groupon.com and they’ll refund your $49 no questions asked.” And I’ve even overbooked myself to the point where I’ve missed an estimate…twice :(. I was so embarrassed. That will never happen again. It’s well worth the “risk”.
If Groupon isn’t in your area, LivingSocial is the same concept.
Has anyone else out there tried this?